Hi everyone! My name is Laura Long and I am the fashion & lifestyle blogger behind Smart Southern Style. My family and I recently visited Grand Cayman and I am happy to be sharing my travel guide for this beautiful Caribbean island!
Grand Cayman is a small island in the south Caribbean and is an easy direct flight from most major cities in the Eastern U.S. The airport is clean and it is an easy 15 minute taxi ride to Seven Mile Beach where all the resorts are located. The people in Grand Cayman are very friendly, there are so many fun things to do, and the water is literally the most beautiful I have ever seen. I am so excited to be sharing my recommendations for this island and cannot wait to visit again!
What to Pack:
Grand Cayman is located in the Caribbean, so it is hot all year round. The sun is strong, so be sure to pack UV protectant clothing from Cabana Life. I love wearing their dresses because they are super cute while keeping me cool and protected from the sun. I wore this Coral Geo Cap Sleeve Swing Shift and got so many compliments on it. And did I mention it has pockets?!? One of my other favorite Cabana Life dresses is the Moroccan Tile Sleeveless Shift Dress. I think this neckline is so flattering and this dress also has pockets! Grand Cayman is a very casual place, so no need to bring anything really dressy to wear on your vacation.
My entire family brought swimwear and rash guards from Cabana Life to keep us protected out in the hot tropical sun. My daughter and I loved matching in our mommy and me swimsuits! I wore the Summer Bloom Off The Shoulder Ruffle One Piece and my daughter wore the Summer Bloom Short Sleeve Rashguard Set. We also got a lot of wear out of our cover ups and my husband wore his Navy Hooded Rashguard daily to protect his fair skin from the sun. I love the tassels on my Embroidered Cover Up & the pretty colors in my daughter's Garden Gate Swimsuit & Cover Up Set.
Be sure to pack more sunscreen than you think you might need, as it is important to reapply often with the strong sun. Items such as sunscreen are very expensive in Grand Cayman, so it is best to be over prepared so you don't have to purchase it while you are there.
Where to Stay:
There are so many beautiful resorts in Grand Cayman and most are located on an area of the island called Seven Mile Beach. We have been there twice and have stayed at the Marriott Beach Resort and most recently at the Ritz Carlton. I would highly recommend both of these resorts as they are beautiful, offer excellent service and are directly on the ocean. Beach Suites is another resort that has been recommended, but I have not been there to share my personal experience.
One tip if you stay at the Ritz Carlton...if you want a beach chair directly in front of the ocean, go down to the beach early and reserve one. You can reserve chairs as early as 7am and they will hold them for you for two hours. I recommend reserving chairs early then go eat breakfast and come back to the beach within two hours. That will be your best bet for getting a chair on the first row directly on the water. There are about 4 rows of beach chairs and if you get down to the beach after 8am, you will not have much luck getting a chair on the front row.
What to Do:
Stingray City – This is a must do during your visit to Grand Cayman. You take a boat out in the middle of the ocean to waist deep water where you can stand and swim among the stingrays. Your guide will teach you how to safely touch the stingrays and if you are feeling brave, you can even give one a kiss! Many resorts offer a boat trip to Stingray City, but if not, there are several tour companies in Grand Cayman that can pick you up at your hotel and take you to a dock for a tour. One tip...ask the concierge at your hotel which day would be the least crowded to go to Stingray City. I recommend going on a day that there are no cruise ships in port, as it can get crowded on those days.
Starfish Point – Starfish Point is a beach on the north shore of the island where you can see lots of starfish close to shore. It is also a great place for snorkeling. Many of the resorts offer a boat trip that stops at Starfish Point, but you can also book a tour through a water-sports company.
Water-sports – Most resorts offer water-sports on property, either included in your rate or for an extra fee. We enjoyed snorkeling, paddle boarding and water biking during our trip. Sailing is also a popular activity in Grand Cayman and since there are very few waves, it is a great place to try sailing for the first time.
Sea Turtle Farm – Visiting the Cayman Turtle Center was one of the highlights of our vacation! You can hold baby sea turtles and snap some great photos. There is also a large pool with a slide which our kids loved, an alligator, sharks and more sea turtles than you have even seen in your life. Our favorite part of the turtle farm was snorkeling, as there are lot of turtles swimming around that you can see up close in the water. I recommend purchasing the "Turtle Adventure Tour" package that includes the water park and snorkeling, as it does not cost much more and is defiantly worth it for the extra activities that are included.
Where to Eat:
There are so many great places to eat in Grand Cayman. We did eat at several restaurants at The Ritz Carlton for the sake of convenience and also ventured off property a few times and had some great local meals.
Luca - Luca is located in the Caribbean Club hotel and offers beautiful ocean views. This restaurant is in walking distance from the Ritz and was one of our favorite meals. Luca offers Italian food, wonderful seafood and has an extensive wine selection.
Seven at The Ritz - Seven is a wonderful steak house that also offers a great selection of fresh seafood. It is located at the Ritz and has nice views of the ocean. Definitely get a dessert while you are here!
Agua - If I had to pick a favorite meal in Grand Cayman, it would be Agua. All of us loved our food, the service was impeccable and the restaurant decor was beautiful. Agua offers seafood, Italian and Peruvian food and has a pretty view of a marina.
Bar Jack at The Ritz - We ate here for lunch most every day because of the convenience and all of us loved the food! If you are not staying at the Ritz, it is a great place to come get a cocktail and watch the sunset at the resort.
Sunshine Grill - Sunshine Grill was the most recommended restaurant by every local we talked to. It is a relatively small restaurant located at the Sunshine Suites Resort and is very popular with the locals. It offers a wide selection of Caribbean favorites such as fish tacos and was one of the most affordable meals we ate on the island. Sunshine Grill is in walking distance of The Ritz and many other resorts.
Andiamo at The Ritz - Andiamo is an open air Italian restaurant at the Ritz overlooking the marina. The food was good but we were not overwhelmed and thought it was a bit overpriced. I don't think we would go back to be completely honest.
One note..we were on vacation with our daughters who can be a bit picky, so we had to choose restaurants that had a good selection of kid friendly foods. There are lots of other great restaurants on the island that we did not get a chance to visit. Here are some places that were recommended to us that we did not get a chance to visit: Cracked Conch (great sunsets on the water!), Catch (on a marina), Bacaro (new and on the water), and Peppers (great for lunch).
Laura Long is the blogger behind Smart Southern Style, a place for fashion and style inspiration for ladies in their 30s, 40s and beyond who want to live a stylish life without breaking the bank. Laura lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and 2 daughters. You can find her blog at www.smartsouthernstyle.com, follow her on Facebook and Instagram at @smartsouthernstyle